Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs.
Measles vaccine is administered through the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) or by the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella and varicella) vaccine.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
Children should be given the first dose of MMR vaccine soon after the first birthday (12 to 15 months of age). The second dose is recommended before the start of the kindergarten.
Two doses at least 28 days apart. One dose on or after 12 months of age and before 16 months of age, and a second dose before entering school for the first time. The requirement for a second dose does not apply to individuals who entered school, college or university for the first time before July 1, 1994.
A person who has been diagnosed prior to January 1, 1994, by a physician (or designee such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant) as having measles (rubeola) or an individual who has been documented by serological testing to have a protective antibody titer against measles is not required to receive measles vaccine. Individuals born before 1957 are not required to receive measles vaccine except in measles outbreak situations.
MMR vaccine is very effective at protecting people against measles, mumps, and rubella, and preventing the complications caused by these diseases. People who receive MMR vaccination according to the U.S. vaccination schedule are usually considered protected for life against measles and rubella. While MMR provides effective protection against mumps for most people, immunity against mumps may decrease over time and some people may no longer be protected against mumps later in life. An additional dose may be needed if you are at risk because of a mumps outbreak.
One dose of MMR vaccine is 93% effective against measles, 78% effective against mumps, and 97% effective against rubella.
Two doses of MMR vaccine are 97% effective against measles and 88% effective against mumps.
Chickenpox is caused by infection with the varicella zoster virus, which causes fever and an itchy rash. It is spread by coughing and sneezing (highly contagious), by direct contact, and by aerosolization of virus from skin lesions.
The chickenpox vaccine can prevent this disease. Currently, two doses of vaccine are recommended for children, adolescents and adults.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
All children and adults without evidence of immunity should receive the chickenpox vaccine. Children should receive one dose of chickenpox vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age.
Two doses administered at least 28 days apart. One dose on or after 12 months of age and before age 19 months, and a second dose before entering school for the first time.
An individual with laboratory confirmation of varicella disease immunity or has been documented by serological testing to have a protective antibody titer against varicella is not required to receive varicella vaccine. An individual who has documentation from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant verifying history of varicella disease is not required to receive varicella vaccine. The documentation shall include the name of the individual with a history of varicella disease, the approximate date or age of infection, and a health care provider signature. Individuals born before April 1, 2001, are not required to receive varicella vaccine. The requirement for the second dose of varicella vaccine shall not apply to individuals who enter Kindergarten or 1st grade for the first time before July 1, 2015.
Sources: Johnsie Hubble, RN, MPH, CIC, infection preventionist/employee health director, Chatham Hospital; CDC.gov; N.C. Dept. of Health & Human Services; North Carolina Immunization Branch.